I first tried meditation when I was in college. Me and some new friends saw this cool trend online and read about all the benefits of doing this simple ritual. Since then, I’ve tried numerous different methods of meditation and have focused on consistency. It’s not always easy to meditate every day. But lately, especially during difficult times, I try to prioritize my meditation practices.
I first heard about transcendental meditation by one of my favorite comics and celebrities, Jerry Seinfeld. I loved his sitcom growing up and have been a fan of his other work. He is a huge supporter of TM (transcendental meditation) and preaches about the benefits quite often. This sounded interesting to me so I thought I’d give it a try.
There is a lot of secrecy around TM. It can be difficult to find out what the proper technique is because it’s advertised as a service you need to pay for at first. You pay to learn by a trained professional who provides you with your own mantra. This mantra is a made up sound that has no meaning whatsoever. To do TM, you simply repeat this mantra over and over. You breathe normally and on each exhale, say that mantra in your head quietly. But here’s the trick. Don’t overly focus on the mantra or your breath. Just say your mantra calmly. After some time, your mind will start to stray and think about other stuff. This is good. Although most meditations tell you to resist any thoughts and aggressively focus on the breath, TM allows other thoughts to come and go. That’s the beauty of TM. It takes no effort and practically no concentration. When these thoughts come into your head, accept them. Then get back to repeating your mantra. Your mantra acts as an anchor point. You always want to get back to your anchor but it’s just fine if you think of something else for a while.
I’ve found that when your mind starts to drift off during TM, I get some fantastic ideas to pop in my head. It’s as if whatever was on my mind before meditating, is explored through every part of my brain and out pops ideas. The idea goes through my subconscious and my mind is quiet enough to hear what comes out of it. It’s really a beautiful thing. So whatever is on my mind, I will always meditate on it. Every time, I get a better perspective and more creative ideas from doing TM.
One of my biggest pet peeves about meditating was that I would either get very sleepy or it was just boring to me. To avoid the sleepy part, make sure you avoid laying down when doing any meditation. Laying down only tells your brain that you want to rest and fall asleep. Instead, sit up comfortably in a chair or on the ground. As for the boring part, I have run into this problem myself in the past, too. In a way, meditation is supposed to be boring because you are doing simply nothing for 15-20 minutes. However, with TM I found this less likely to happen compared to other forms of meditation. Since with TM, you allow your mind to drift off and new ideas and thoughts and perspectives rush into your head. Lots of time it’s like your dreaming while awake and conscious and time goes by much quicker. For this reason, I like to write down the important things that popped into my head right after I get done meditating. I often find it’s like a dream where if I don’t write it down then I will forget it. I’ve had some of my best ideas while doing TM and is my favorite practice for whenever I get a mental block.
I used to think TM was a scam because you had to pay for a mantra. But there’s enough content online to teach yourself for free. TM has been the most effective form of mediation for me so far and I’ve tried a lot. But TM makes the most sense to me and I’ve had the best results from it. If you want to give it a try yourself, you can come up with your own mantra. Just think of a one syllable sound that sounds fun. Then start repeating it throughout your meditation. The more you do it the better it gets. Overtime, you will train your brain to react a certain way whenever your mantra is repeated and it’s easier to get back into a meditative state. Feel free to give it a try.